The Ultimate 4.6 Ford Engine Manuals. The 4.6 V8 engine was first launched by Ford in 1991 and has remained a mainstay in their portfolio for more than two decades. Ford used the engine in more than 15 different Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury cars before retiring it in 2014. Depending on the model, it could produce 190-390 horsepower and 260-390 pound-feet of torque. In addition to Ford, European manufacturers Koenisegg, Panoz, and Qvale have all employed variations of the 4.6 Ford engine, with superchargers allowing them to produce more than 800 horsepower.
The 4.6 Ford engine saw various revisions throughout the years, the most of which were linked to the valve train. Ford has subsequently replaced it with larger displacement engines, such as the 5.0 Coyote, although millions of 4.6s are still on the road today. This page will cover the 4.6 Ford engine’s history, specifications, vehicle applications, engine design, typical problems, dependability, and performance tweaks. Let us begin by looking at its history.
The History of the Ford 4.6 Engine
The 4.6 V8 engine was first launched by Ford in 1991 as part of their new modular engine series. Ford was predominantly employing their small block and 385 big block or “Lima” series engines at the time, which they first launched in the 1960s.
The purpose of the new modular engine series was to support Ford’s “modular strategy.” This method was intended to boost manufacturing efficiency, which would lower costs, shorten production times, and increase overall output. Ward’s called the 4.6 Ford one of the ten best engines of the year in 1996, 1997, 2005, and 2008.
The 4.6 V8 was first installed in the 1991 Lincoln Town Car, producing 190 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. It was rapidly adopted by Ford and Mercury, as well as the Crown Victoria and Grand Marquis the following year. Most people are likely familiar with the 4.6 from its 15-year career in the Ford Mustang, where it was employed in the GT, SVT Cobra, Bullitt, and Mach 1 models.
Besides from Ford, exotic sports car manufacturers such as Koenisegg, Panoz, Invicta, and Qvale have also employed variations of the 4.6. In 2003, Koenisegg employed a supercharged version of the CC8S, then from 2004 to 2006, they used a stroker 4.7 l that produced 806 horsepower and 679 lb-ft of torque with two Rotrex superchargers.
The engines were mostly manufactured at the Ford facility in Romeo, Michigan, as well as the Windsor and Essex engine facilities in Windsor, Ontario. On May 13, 2014, Ford produced the final 4.6 V8 from its Michigan facility, which was used in a Ford E-series van.
4.6 Ford Engine Dimensions
Vehicle Uses for the Ford 4.6 Engine
The 4.6 Ford engine can be found in the cars listed below:
Ford V8 2-Valve SOHC
- Lincoln Town Car, 1991-2011
- Ford Crown Victoria, 1992-2012
- Mercury Grand Marquis, 1992-2012
- Ford Thunderbird, 1994-1997
- 1994–1997 The Mercury Cougar
- Ford Mustang GT/Bullitt 1996-2004
- Ford E-Series (from 1997 to 2014)
- Ford Expedition, 1997-2004
- Ford F-Series (from 1997 to 2010)
- 2003-2005 Ford Explorer
- Mercury Mountaineer 2002-2005
Ford V8 3-Valve SOHC
- Ford Mustang GT/Bullitt 2005-2010
- From 2006 through 2010, Ford Explorer
- Mercury Mountaineer 2006-2010
- Ford F-Series from 2009 to 2010.
Ford V8 4-Valve DOHC
- 1993–1998 Lincoln Mark VIII is a king.
- Lincoln Continental, 1995-2002
- Ford Mustang SVT Cobra/Mach 1 1996-2004
- Mercury Mountaineer (2002-2010)
- Lincoln Aviator (2003-2005)
- 2003–2004 Marauder of Mercury
Ford V8 Racing Variants with 4-Valve DOHC
- 1997–1999 GT/Marcos Mantis (506 horsepower, 452 lb-ft of torque)
- Panoz AIV Roadster 1997-1999
- Panoz Esperante 2000-2009
- Qvale Mangusta 2000-2001
- Koenigsegg CC8S 2003 (646 horsepower, 550 lb-ft of torque)
- MG XPower SV 2003
- Koenigsegg CCR (4.7L stroker) 2004-2006 (806 horsepower, 679 lb-ft of torque)
4.6 Ford Engine Design Fundamentals
The 4.6 Ford Blocks
The Ford 4.6 engine is a 90° V8 engine that has both SOHC and DOHC valve trains. The cylinder heads are all aluminum, while the blocks are either aluminum or cast iron. The majority of SOHC blocks are iron, whereas DOHC blocks are aluminum.
The bore and stroke measurements are 3.55 in 3.54 in (90.2 mm 90.0 mm), giving it an almost completely square engine. The deck height of the block is 8.94 in (227 mm), and the connecting rods are 5.93 in (150.7 mm), for a rod to stroke ratio of 1.67. The cylinder bore spacing is 3.94 in (100 mm), like with the rest of the Ford modular engine series.
Because both the Windsor and Romeo plants had unique designs, there are multiple different basic block castings for the 4.6 V8. The first SOHC iron Romeo blocks, the F1AE and F2VE blocks from 1991-1992, are identical. They utilised the same bellhousing bolt pattern as the Ford small block engine series they were replacing and featured two-bolt starters. The F4VE block, which is comparable save for the starter and bellhousing bolt designs, was introduced in 1994.
Ford introduced the SOHC iron block F65E-CC, F6VE, and F7VE blocks in 1996, with trucks receiving the 5-block and Lincolns receiving the V-blocks. Ford also released the F6AZ-CB block, which was designed exclusively for the Mustang GT. In 1997, the F7AE block was introduced primarily for F-series trucks, followed by the F7VE block for Lincoln and the XW7E with a repositioned oil filter.
Instead of jackscrews, Windsor blocks had dowels between the main caps and block. The F65E-BB and F75E blocks were the first SOHC iron block Windsors. The F65 Windsor and F65 Romeo blocks are incompatible.
Cylinder Heads for the Ford 4.6 Engine
With the SOHC engines, there were two distinct cylinder head designs: 1991-1998 heads and 1999-2014 heads. The older heads had circular ports, whereas the later heads were labeled “Power Enhanced.” Different cam cover bolt patterns, timing chain bolt patterns, and a high-swirl chamber distinguished the newer PI-heads. The heads of Romeo and Windsor, both PI and non-PI, are distinct.
In 1998, Ford Racing released a high performance cylinder head for SOHC blocks. It surpasses all other 4.6 heads by a wide margin, but it is only compatible with SOHC systems from 1998 and older.
DOHC heads are also classified into two types. The early heads, from 1993 to 1998, flowed acceptable but not fantastic, owing mostly to the valve timing, which hampered low and mid-range torque while improving top-end performance. Ford launched the Tumble Port head in 1999, which significantly enhanced torque and flow.
Ford Performance also released a race version in 2002, same to what they did for the SOHC. These heads are extremely high flowing, delivering up to 40-50 horsepower on their own. They employ the FR500 code and have the highest lift and flow rate of any 4.6 block.
Valve Train for Ford 4.6 Engine
The Ford 4.6 engine, as previously stated, employs both single overhead camshaft (SOHC) and dual overhead camshaft (DOHC) versions. The 2- and 3-valve blocks employ SOHC, whereas the 4-valve block uses DOHC. Furthermore, the 3-valve engine incorporates variable camshaft timing (VCT), which enhances fuel economy, efficiency, and power output. The 4.6 Ford engine SOHC has two timing chains, whereas the DOHC has four (two primary, two secondary).
The composite camshafts have press-on lobes and hollow tubes. The SOHC engine has two camshafts, but the DOHC engine has four. The first SOHC cams from 1991 to 1998 have.482 in of lift and a duration of 204° (intake) and 208° (exhaust) (exhaust). Lift was increased from 1999 to 2014 to.535 in (intake) and.505 in (exhaust), with shorter durations of 192° (intake) and 184° (exhaust) (exhaust).
The “gerotor” oil pump is located in front of the crankshaft and is connected to the oil pan through a pickup tube. The identical pump is used in both the SOHC and DOHC engines, albeit the DOHC variant has a larger gerotor assembly inside.
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Internals, Induction, and Ignition of the 4.6 Ford Engine
From 1991 to 1995, the crankshaft in SOHC engines was constructed of nodular iron, with five main bearings and knife-edged counterweights. The DOHC Cobra engines received a steel-forged crank, which is incompatible with the SOHC engines. The SOHC engines received a new steel crank in 1996. Most engines use forged steel connecting rods and hypereutectic aluminum pistons. Zollner forged pistons and Manley H-Beam rods were installed in the SVT Cobra. Compression ratios range from 9.0:1 to 10.0:1 depending on the engine.
The SOHC engines’ initial plastic manifold was comprised of plastic with an aluminum throttle body. Ford Racing adopted an aluminum manifold for improved top-end torque in 1998, as well as a twin-bore throttle body instead of the conventional single. The DOHC intake manifold had a two-port design, with the secondary ports only opening at full throttle.
Instead of a distributor, the 4.6 Ford engine employs an electronic ignition system. The ignition system was updated to a “coil-in-plug” system in 1998, with each plug receiving its own coil.
Typical Ford 4.6 Engine Issues and Reliability
Generally, we would describe the 4.6 Ford engine as dependable. While most of them won’t make it past 200,000 miles without a rebuild, they were pretty reliable for their time (they were released in the early 1990s). Nonetheless, a few recurring issues have arisen over the years, not all of them are unique to the Ford modular family.
The Most Frequent Ford 4.6 V8 Engine Problems
The first problem is with the timing chain system, which is common throughout the Modular (also known as Triton) engine family. While the timing chains aren’t a major issue, the plastic guides and tensioners can be. Due to wear and tear, both the guides and tensioners might fail, resulting in rattles on cold starts, a rough idle, and perhaps a P0300 DTC. The remedy is to replace the guides and tensioner with something more robust.
Following that are the plastic intake manifolds used from 1991 to 2001. These manifolds were susceptible to cracking and leaking. The manifolds have been altered since 2002, and they are generally quite solid. As previously stated, not all manifolds and cylinder heads are interchangeable, so most manifolds on contemporary engines will not fit. If a stock replacement cannot be located, aftermarket manifolds are an alternative.
Low oil pressure is the third most prevalent problem with the Ford 4.6 V8. This is usually related to the oil pump or oil sending unit, and it is a typical issue on many Fords from this era. Usually, replacing the oil pump is the best solution.
The final typical issue is spark plug misfires. The spark plugs in the 3-valve SOHC engines broke, which can lead to major knock issues. It’s unclear what’s causing the issues, but some of it can be attributed to a lack of upkeep. Replacing your spark plugs every 60,000 miles is an excellent method to keep problems at bay.
Overall, we believe the engine is dependable, but if you’re looking for a car with one, keep these points in mind and see if you can identify them on any past service records.
Performance and Improvements for the Ford 4.6 Engine
Given that Ford employed all of the 4.6 V8’s 2, 3, and 4-valve variations to power the Mustang GT/Bullitt/Mach 1/SVT Cobra models from 1996 to 2010, it’s safe to say they’re capable of some pretty good performance. Whereas the early 2-valve engines used in the 1996-2004 Mustang GT and Bullitts only produced 215-265 horsepower, the 3-valve engine produced 300-315 horsepower and 320-325 lb-ft of torque.
By far the most powerful engine was the Terminator 4-valve DOHC 4.6 V8, which produced 390 horsepower and 390 lb-ft of torque inside the 2003-2004 SVT Cobra. This was aided in part by an Eaton M112 roots-style supercharger producing 8 psi of boost.
The two, three, and four-valve models are all ready for modding and upgrading. Other 4.6 V8 equipped vehicles, including Mustangs, respond to improvements as well. While the 4-valve engines provide the most power and respond the fastest, all engines can benefit from aftermarket modifications.